MORE than 30 beauty salon and hairdressing employees are set to recoup nearly $40,000 in wages after investigations by the workplace ombudsman found they had been underpaid. Workplace inspectors audited 81 premises in the hairdressing and beauty industry in an investigation spanning Perth, Kalgoorlie, Broome and Bunbury. Almost half of those audited were found to be in breach of their legal workplace obligations. Workplace ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said the investigation uncovered a further 29 suspected breaches of workplace laws, mostly related to pay rates. Commenting on the win, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee’s Union (SDA), which represents about 100 hairdressers in WA, said it was not surprising workers in the beauty and hairdressing industry were found to be underpaid. “I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg,” SDA secretary Joe Bullock said. Mr Wilson said the WA hair and beauty industry was targeted because it employs high numbers of young people, including apprentices. Workplace inspectors paid special attention to underpaid hours, hourly rate underpayments, classifications, allowances and record keeping. Mr Bullock said he believed the real number of employees in the industry to be owed money in lost wages was significantly higher.